How To Start A Side Hustle: Recommended Reading

How To Start A Side Hustle: Recommended Reading

Starting A Side Hustle

Recommended Reading
Starting A Side Hustle Recommended Reading

Starting a business is one of the most thrilling and exhilarating things you can do in your lifetime. It’s a journey that is unique to each one of us, as we pave it our own.

Because the path is never the same for any two people, it can get lonely and a lot of entrepreneurs start to second guess themselves. For this reason, I love to read. Reading books from successful entrepreneurs helps to keep you sharp, learn new things and feel connected. 

Here are the books I recommend to my clients when they are just starting out building their side hustle.

Profit First

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz is one of my all time favorite books. If you have just started a business, or have been a business owner for decades, Profit First should be at the top of your list. The methodology is so simple, yet so powerful for any entrepreneur that has ever struggled to keep their finances in check.

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield Thomas is just one of those books that makes you feel awesome about money. Denise’s tactics are some I still follow today and have made a world of difference in how I approach money. We all have money hangups, but if we can recognize them and move past them, we can get to the success we’re looking for. I recommend listening to the audio book because you can literally hear Denise smiling.

Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters by John Doerr is a fantastic book to help you define your goals. The framework is a powerful tool to help you and everyone you work with create a strategic plan for achieving your goals. The best part about the OKR system, is that it keeps everyone aligned on the same vision. Even if you don’t have a team and you are working solo – creating OKRs for yourself can help you stay true to the original vision you’ve set for yourself.

1,000 True Fans

A cult favorite written by Kevin Kelly in 2008, almost every entrepreneur has read this short but powerful blog post. Getting to 1,000 true fans can be a game changer for your business, you don’t have to serve millions. It’s a must read for anyone creating a side hustle.

I’d Rather Be in Charge

I once got the opportunity to hear Charlotte Beers speak in New York and I immediately got a copy of her book, I’d Rather Be In Charge: A Legendary Business Leader’s Roadmap for Achieving Pride, Power, and Joy at Work. As the first woman to appear on the cover of Fortune magazine, Beers’ career is very impressive. She gives a voice to that feeling we have as women, when we know we have more power within us. When we feel our inner leader needing to step out. If you struggle with confidence or unsure of your own personal power, this book is for you.

Emyth Revisited

Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber is also a book you don’t want to skip over. The importance of creating systems in your business is monumental. When you don’t keep a sharp eye on ways to create efficiency and reduce redundancy in your day to day – you are on the path to burn out and exhaustion. It’s downright dangerous. Emyth illustrates this beautifully and gives you the tools to keep things under control.

Pitch Anything

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, as well as Flip The Script, might be two of the most fascinating non-fiction books I’ve ever read. Klaff works with clients to help them pitch investors. Companies who are going after big investments, to the tune of millions. A lot of the time, he’s the one doing the pitching. Securing millions of dollars for his clients is pretty cool, but the lessons he’s learned from making those big asks is even cooler. Your jaw will drop on multiple occasions from the stories he tells and the lessons he teaches will never leave you.

Revenue Generating To Do List

Revenue Generating To Do List

Revenue Generating To-Do List

Running your own business is tough. You aren’t just doing the core work, you’re also doing the accounting, HR, Sales, Content Creation, Website Management, Branding, Marketing, etc. It can be extremely challenging to prioritize your to-do list when every single “do” is on your shoulders.

If you read my previous post “To Do or To Find Out?” post, you’ll see that all to-dos are not created equally and knowing what category your tasks fall into can bring a lot of clarity to your work.

Taking it a step further, you can group some of your tasks into revenue generating tasks and non-revenue generating tasks. One thing is for sure: if you aren’t making money in your business, you don’t have a business. Working on things that bring in income should be at the VERY top of your list.

There are a lot of times when I am going down the rabbit hole of being busy and immediately stop and ask myself “is this making me any money?” and the answer being an emphatic NO. Can you relate to this? Every time I do this, I get quite frustrated with myself. Now, I have a list of revenue generating activities that I build into my day.

Here is an exercise to define your revenue generating activities and how to incorporate them into your everyday to-dos.

First, take inventory of your current to-do list. Look at them with the lens of “do any of these tasks produce income?”  And by that, I don’t mean indirectly make income. I mean actually produces income. You might be horrified to notice that you might have one, but truth is, a lot of entrepreneurs have none. Busy work takes up their day, namely social media, and true sales efforts are not even given a glance.

So what are some revenue generating activities?

  • Cold Calling
  • Sending Proposals
  • Emailing your list an offer
  • Sending out an affiliate offer
  • Asking current clients for referrals
  • Asking past clients for referrals
  • Setting up product demos
  • Answering new lead inquiries

One or more of the activities above can be done on a daily or semi-daily basis. You should at minimum have one of these on your to-do list everyday and it should be of the highest priority.

Posting on Instagram, writing blog posts, recording podcasts, designing brochures, etc., aren’t making you money. Making sales is what makes you money. Are the tasks I just mentioned important, sure they are, but they are a vehicle to making sales, not actually sales themselves.

Rev gen activities don’t have to take up your whole day, but non-revenue generating activities mustn’t take up your whole day.

Pin point a few of the activities above, and decide how they can be incorporated into your business or create a few of your own. Then schedule them into your daily work. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll see that your daily activities can easily be filled with money-making efforts.

If you have a software product like I do, start scheduling out product demos, aka: cold calling. For example, I might schedule out one hour of my day to strictly make cold calls asking small businesses to do a software demo. (<— revenue generating activity) I might get a hold of 4-5 people and 1 or 2 might say yes. I will schedule those for the next week. I now have 2 demos set up for next week (<— more revenue generating activities). As this becomes part of my daily routine, I will always have potential sales in the pipeline and not spending too much time on Instagram.

If you sell courses online, you could be holding workshops, hosting webinars for your course, emailing your list about the course, upselling previous students into a bigger course, etc. If you sell a health product, you could be calling past clients asking for reorders, or referrals, emailing new leads, etc.

Get really intentional about what you are doing during the day – revenue generating activities need to be on your daily task list. It’s much easier when you can get clear on what those tasks are, schedule them out and watch your business grow. Don’t get caught up in the busy work – it’s easy to do.

10 Mantras To Help You Keep Going

10 Mantras To Help You Keep Going

10 Mantras To Help You keep Going

“Motivation follows action, motivation follows action, motivation follows action…”

I repeat to myself when it’s 5 a.m. If I don’t get up and start writing – I will have missed my “golden hour.” The time of day when I am at my writing best (surprisingly enough). My family hasn’t woken up yet and my coffee pot is set to start brewing at 4:55 a.m. All I have to do is get up.

Working for myself is definitely a dream come true – but like anything else, there are times when motivation goes out the window. When I’d rather shut the shades, take the kids to Grandma and watch Fixer Upper all day while eating a tub of frosting. And definitely at 5 a.m., when my toddler has been kicking me in the back all night, it’s tough to get up and get going.

So I repeat my mantra. “Motivation follows action, motivation follows action, motivation follows action.”

I reached out to some other super savvy, smart entrepreneurs to tell me their mantras. The ones that keep them going when they are burnt out to a toasty crisp.

Here’s what they use to keep going.

“My personal mantra that I adopted after leaving a stress filled corporate environment… ‘we’re not creating oxygen.’” – Adrienne Dorison, founder of Run Like Clockwork

“I always come back to some variation of ‘I am freaking Superwoman. Look at all this I am handling. No one can do this like I can.’ Even if everything feels tremendously hard and I feel like I am at my breaking point, the truth is I AM handling it, and I AM strong enough to get to the other side. The more I affirm that in myself, the more I feel it and draw strength. Angela Greaser, co-founder of All The Ops

“I always remind myself ‘You set the rules. You know what’s best for you, your family & your business. Keep going.’” – Katie Lawler Hunt, founder of Proof To Product

“’A bad day is a choice.’ My Grandma Broad always used to say to me, after I’d say ‘Have a great day, Grandma’, “Well dear, it’s my own fault if I don’t.” – Julie Broad, founder of Book Launchers

“You are right on time.” – Amber McCue, founder

I tell myself, “This is happening, no matter what.” – Kelly Diels, Writer & Feminist Marketing Consulant

“You don’t have to know all the answers in advance.” – Sarah Kathleen Peck, founder of Startup Pregnant

“No matter what is happening or has happened, it means nothing about YOU. Your worth and value as a human is untouchable.” – Allie Horner, founder of Adventure Knocks    

“If the dream is in you, it’s for you.” I always bring myself back here. – Amber Lilyestrom, founder

Mine is the quote from A League of Their Own: “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” – Erika Tebbens, Strategist & Speaker


Bonus Quote: “My favourite quote is from Helen Keller. It’s a bit long, so I often just think of the first line: ‘Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.’

I take that to mean, ‘stop beating yourself up for making choices that lead to things being hard. If you’d taken the easy road, you STILL would have had hard things to deal with, so at least this way you’re better equipped.’ – Marsha Shandur, founder of Yes Yes Marsha


I love these quotes and mantras, especially knowing that no matter what, hard things are going happen. 

Hard is what makes it great.  It won’t be hard forever. 

Right on, ladies. 

How To Be More Productive: Tame Your Squirrel Brain

How To Be More Productive: Tame Your Squirrel Brain

How To Tame Squirrel Brain

A Productivity Plan

How To Be More Productive

Current situation: Home all day with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. #sendhelp #bringwine #whatwasithinking

If you work from home, you know there are distractions around every corner – sometimes with sticky fingers holding cheese and crayons.  It can be really hard to be more productive.

Now that I’m juggling more than just myself and my business, I have to get really intentional with the little free time I do have (aka: nap time).

Even if you don’t have kids, keep reading, you most likely still have distractions and could benefit from getting maximum output from the time you put in.

I’ve developed my own system for planning what I need to get done in a day by borrowing some strategies from other amazing entrepreneurs. I am going to outline how I stay productive while keeping tiny grape jelly handprints off of my computer screen.

I was gifted the TUL notebook and let it sit in my closet for probably a year. I didn’t think I needed it, since at the time I was pregnant with my first babe and plenty productive. Once she got here though, my time for work was cut by about 110% and I realized how much time I was actually wasting. So I busted out the notebook to see if I could use it to help me get things done.

And Boy Did It Ever

Disc bound notebooks are gaining popularity because it’s like combining a spiral notebook with a binder. You can add and take away pages, rearrange them, take pages out to write notes and put them back – it’s just really clever.

So here’s how I use my Tul system to keep the chaos under control. These are actual pictures of my Tul notebook.

The key parts: 

  • Themed Days
  • 3 Things That Must Get Done
  • Parking Lot
  • Tracking



Theming your days is CRUCIAL. The most effective entrepreneurs I know only do specific tasks on specific days of the week. Meetings only on Tuesdays, podcast recordings only on Mondays, etc. Theme your days and stick to it. So here’s what my week looks like in terms of theme:

Monday: Parking Lot

Tuesday: Meetings/Calls/Client Work/Setups

Wednesday: Writing

Thursday: Meetings/Calls/Setups/Client Love Calls

Friday: Parking Lot/Writing

Depending on your line of work, you’ll obviously modify this. But make sure to plan your week around your themes. Don’t take client calls or schedule client meetings on days that aren’t slated for them. If you have to make an exception every once in a while, fine, but then get back on track. Have you ever noticed that a quick coffee meeting ends up being about 2 hours, with drive time, chatting time and driving back to your office/home time? Not productive. What is productive? Batching a few meetings together at the same coffee shop so you are efficient. Be smart about this.

Theming your days keeps your head in the game. Keeps you from task switching which burns brain power and slows you down. When you are planning out your week – you already know which days to schedule which tasks based upon your theme. For example, you’ll see above on Monday I have “planning” which is me taking time to plan out what I need to get done for the week. I do this on Monday mornings, you may want to do this on Saturday or Sunday evening depending on what you have going on. I take the weekends off for my family, so I do it on Monday morning. I try to plan out my entire week on Monday. 

I know that on Wednesdays, I write. So I will schedule a blog post or Forbes article I need to get done for Wednesdays. It might be difficult to resist working on now, but I know that I have very little focus time so I have to stick to my themes. I schedule client tasks for Tuesdays and make “check-in” calls to clients on Thursdays.


When my daughter was taking three naps a day, this was a phenomenal system for me. Now that she only takes one a day, I had to just pick 1 thing that must get done. Now that I have my son, they nap at different times and I finally just got a nanny, so I’m able to work on more than just one thing a day! Hopefully you have more blocks of time that you can spend working. Minimum should be three, but you can go as high as six to eight.

The three things that you ‘must get done’ need to fall within your theme. So be mindful here. If you have the luxury of working on your business all day with no interruptions a) you are wildly lucky and b) you might want to pinpoint 6-8 things that must get done.

Each task will follow Pareto’s law which states that tasks will contract and expand to fit the space you’ve given it. So after you’ve decided what needs to get done that day, you need to assign a set amount of time to it and work hard to get it finished within that time.

For example: if I am working on writing, I allocate an hour or two to a certain blog post or article I’m writing. Once I’m done – I’m done for that hour. I can go do whatever I want. Nap, do the dishes, take a shower, make a sandwich, etc. This is critical in keeping focused. Sometimes if I don’t get it done, I’ll allocate more time to it if needed, but Ischedule it. Get through the task so that you can move on.

Don’t let distractions make you task switch. Set the timer and GO. Promise yourself that the next 20 minutes or however long you’ve allotted is only for that task. Once my time is up for that task, I move to the next one. If I need to take 3 hours for one task, I schedule it and only work on that task for 3 hours – never deviating. If I finish early, awesome! I can maybe get in a quick walk, or if I’m feeling energetic, move on to my next task and finish up early for the day.

Sometimes I slate out 15 minutes to brainstorm as many blog post ideas as I can. I set the timer and I write, write, write. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with when you are against the clock. You’ll have time later to refine and expand on your ideas, but that focused time can be really productive.

For each task I write it down as my focus, what actually happened and what action needs to be done from here. I also allocate a time to it and when that time is up, I give myself a score on how well I thought I focused.

And on to the best part of the system:


The parking lot is the single best thing that has helped me tackle my squirrel brain. Before I started this system, I would be in the middle of doing something and another task would pop in my head and I’d go down the rabbit hole. As you can imagine, I rarely finished a project. Now I use the TUL task pad to write down every thing that pops in my head so that I don’t get distracted by it. When I do this, I don’t task switch. I stay working on what I’m working on, but know that I’ve recorded it in the Parking Lot and it won’t be forgotten.

(You can easily do this with post-it’s too)

I schedule Parking Lot tasks for Mondays and Fridays. These are the little tasks that aren’t urgent but need to get done. Things like making your dentist appointment, send thank you’s, deposit checks, etc. Then I block out time in my day on Mondays and Fridays to tackle those small things. I dedicate an hour and try to blast through as many as possible. This has helped me tremendously. It’s probably the biggest reason I get anything done now. I get it out of my head and onto paper so I don’t forget, but it doesn’t stop what I’m working on. If I don’t get them done that day, or the day I schedule, I move them to the next day that I have Parking Lot tasks scheduled.

You might find that you need to tend to these little things more often, and that’s fine. Try to remember though, that these things usually don’t make significant revenue for you or impact. So try and keep your time on this to a minimum. Get as much done as you can to lower your stress level, but certainly don’t make working on your Parking Lot tasks take up your whole day. 

Move your Parking Lot sheet over each day so you can keep track of it and it’s handy to jot down things that pop in your head.


Lastly, I set up all of my tracking so I can see my progress. You’ll see above that I’ve planned out the next day and set time limits already. I plan out my whole week like this around my themes. I use a few task pad sheets every day to track: Parking Lot, Brainstorm Lists, etc. I also keep notes to myself and other little things I want to make sure I get done during the day. Such as a meditation and 10 squats before all of my focuses. I have a treadmill desk that I walk on when I work, but 30 squats a day can’t hurt, right? All that sitting…

One of my favorite quotes is by Karl Pearson: 

“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” 

So it’s important to track your day so you can look back on it and see progress. If you are working towards a goal, this is where you want to set up small incremental actions that can be done daily and tracked. Maybe it’s write a paragraph a day, or stretch, or do 100 squats, or connect two colleagues, etc. 

So there you have it. That’s how I use one notebook to stay productive and on top of my work. I love the TUL system, I even have the hole punch so that I can punch any papers that I’d like to insert into my notebook. Being able to punch holes into my loose papers to add to my notebook has been really awesome – it’s probably one of the best features of a disc bound notebook. 

You don’t have to use this notebook, you can simply use a spiral bound with post-it’s. Just as long as you aren’t task switching and setting time limits to what you’re working on.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a note and ask away!

4 Golden Rules For Living The Laptop Lifestyle

4 Golden Rules For Living The Laptop Lifestyle

4 Golden Rules For Living The Laptop Lifestyle

The laptop lifestyle has been all the rage since Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week, hit the scene in 2007.

Twelve years later, a lot of entrepreneurs are still applying his principles. Even Tim admits he works way more than 4 hours a week, but what we all learned from his book was that being chained to a desk isn’t the future of work. This collective eye-opening has resulted in a vast majority of entrepreneurs and employees alike giving it a go. Lucky for us, technology has dramatically evolved, enabling more people to work on their own terms.

The laptop lifestyle is needing only your computer, phone and an internet connection to make an income. It really doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, a remote employee or a freelancer – if you can do your work from any location, you qualify.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering this type of work, though. Here are the four golden rules you must follow if you want to live the laptop lifestyle.

Leverage Technology

Technology has come such a long way and even more so, advancing the ability for people to work from anywhere. Lean on technology to keep your organized, automate tasks, track your time and communicate with team members or clients.

I recently spoke with my friend, Kate Erickson, partner at EOFire. Kate and John Lee Dumas moved down to Puerto Rico and while in the process of moving, nothing in their business or any scheduled podcasts were interrupted. Heavily relying on technology allowed them to move across the world without worrying that their business would come to a screeching halt.

There are so many apps and software that make life a lot easier and will keep you organized. You must learn to lean on them if you want to be location independent.

Choose A Niche Comfortable With Remote Work

Some industries are more comfortable working with someone remote, and some aren’t. You will need to choose to work in a field that is quite comfortable not having you in the physical office. More and more jobs are becoming more location independent, however, that doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable with it yet.

Choosing a niche that isn’t ready for it will be an uphill battle. Choose to work in a field or find clients that are already on board with this kind of working relationship, so you aren’t spending your time fighting the good fight rather than on your actual work.Be intentional with who you choose to work with, it will make all the difference.

Clarity in Communication

The majority of our communication is through energy, tone, body language and expression. When we aren’t sitting in front of one another and only communicating via electronic messages, those are lost. It’s crucial that communication is clear. Clear to the point of ridiculous even. You will need to take the time to over communicate in order to make sure communication is clear for everyone.

Again, leverage the technology around you in order to achieve this. Using Skype or Zoom to do video calls, use Google Docs to create shared files, or Loom to capture simple screen recordings.

Jaime Masters, founder of Eventual Millionaire, has a communication escalation plan implemented within her team. It outlines in which circumstances you communicate and with which communication devices. For example, if something big like the website goes down – call her right away. If it’s a typo on the website, save it for the next all-hands meeting. If you are location independent, your team members could be in a totally different time zone and saves you from getting a 1am phone call to tell you about a website typo.

Communication about when and how to communicate – brilliant.

Keep Selling

When you work for yourself, you must always be selling. Sales is not something you can take a break from or your business will die. Even if you are a remote worker – you still need to be “selling” yourself to your boss. That face to face time isn’t baked into your everyday working relationship and can result in lost connection.

You need to keep prospecting, keep building your network and working on getting more clients or keeping conversations open. If you are totally swamped with work and can’t take on new clients – keep selling yourself to the ones you have.

The laptop lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it certainly is a dream for most. It’s definitely achievable with the right technology, a great communications plan and the right clients.

7 Online Businesses To Try In 2019

7 Online Businesses To Try In 2019

7 Online businesses to try in 2019

Having an online business is quite possibly one of the greatest ways to make a living. The laptop lifestyle allows you to create an income with just a computer and a phone, and is a freedom like none other. It’s a ton of work, don’t get me wrong, but you get to forgo a commute, office politics, showers…

When you have a work from home job, you’ll certainly put in more hours than you’d ever imagine, but the ability to work from your home office, kitchen table, coffee shop, local library, etc., is what attracts most people to the laptop lifestyle. If you are still trying to find that online business idea, maybe to supplement your income or get you fully out of your 9-5, here are a few to consider.

Digital Traffic Manager

Digital marketing is a lot bigger than just social media. Brands are looking for quality traffic, awareness and exposure. While that includes social media, it also includes guest blogging, press, content creation and the like. This takes a lot of skill and organization to manage it all and that’s why companies are looking for help. If you are savvy, you can create a strategic plan to drive traffic to someone’s website beyond just SEO.

eCommerce Store
Having an eCommerce store has become easier thanks to drop shipping and it’s big business. (Psst… Wayfair is a drop shipping website and they are killing it.) Platforms like Shopify, Oberlo and AliExpress make setting up your online store a breeze. The key then is to drive a lot of traffic to your website and optimize for conversion.

Website Creation
With platforms like WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify, etc., creating a website is easier than ever if you have a little tech savvy. You don’t have to know how to code in order to learn one of these platforms and set up websites for companies. Creating a website for a business is really selling time. It’s not anything that they can’t do themselves, but most lack the time to learn. Get good at a couple of these platforms and sell speedy websites.

Content marketing is really important to most online businesses and the creation of that content can be daunting. If you have some background in SEO and are able to write smart, compelling articles – companies will pay. Most content writers charge 10 cents per word, so a 3000 word article would garner you $300. Get a few clients and write a few articles a week and you’ve got a sweet little hustle.

eBook Author
Do you like to write? Self publishing can be a very successful venture if you are disciplined to pump out a lot of content. James Scott Bell writes a ton of fiction books, but also a ton of books about how to write fiction books. Not only is he making a living on writing books, but also how to write books. You most likely have knowledge you can share – self publishing is a great way to make something once and get paid over and over again.

Bookkeeping Service
If you are good with numbers, you are my hero. A lot of business owners hate this part of their business and love to pass it to someone who loves it. If you are great with numbers and super organized, you should have no problem finding clients.

Online Workshops/Classes 
Online courses are fabulous, but online workshops are getting really popular. Access to you for a block of time is really valuable to a workshop attendee. Neville Medora, founder of Kopywriting Kourse, does this a lot to better serve his students and make a great profit. Offering a specific time to be online forces people to actually show up and take in what you’re teaching as opposed to an evergreen course that can be taken at any time.

It’s important to note that none of these online businesses will work without customers – you must learn how to market your online business, become a student of marketing and brand yourself.

To Do? Or To Find Out?

To Do? Or To Find Out?

To Do? Or To Find Out?

Do you find that your to do list just turns into a bunch of questions?

When I would start getting overwhelmed with work, in a fury I would do a huge brain dump on a legal pad. All of the things that I just had to get done in an effort to get it out of my head and organized. What ended up happening more often than not was that my to-do list would have more questions on it than to-dos.

To-dos are actions, not questions.

Do you find that your to do list just turns into a bunch of questions?

When I would start getting overwhelmed with work, in a fury I would do a huge brain dump on a legal pad. All of the things that I just had to get done in an effort to get it out of my head and organized. What ended up happening more often than not was that my to-do list would have more questions on it than to-dos.

To-dos are actions, not questions.

My to-do list would look something like this:

– Find out if my merchant account allow for recurring payments and how to set them up

– Learn how to use Leadpages

– Email advisory board about 2nd quarter goals

– Create video for webinar

– Write blog post about team communication

– Find out if email marketing system will filter out groups

– Find a venue for the next networking event

– Find out if Verizon or ATT is the best for our business account


Only 3 of these 8 items are actually actionable to-dos.

The majority of my to-do list would be pages of questions/research and I would be overwhelmed again. Can you relate? Is your to-do list filling up with things you need to “find out?”

It’s time to make 2 lists. A to-do list and a research/questions list.

Once you separate the two, you’ll find that your to-do list is swiftly and easily completed each day. Getting the questions out of the way, allows you to clearly get into productivity mode and taking action. Tackle this list during a peak hour of energy. Start your day off by taking action on the things that are actually actionable. You’ll probably find that you’ve completed the day’s list within a half hour to an hour. The feeling of accomplishment and being productive is a high we all know too well. Ride that high as you move into working on answering questions, learning new programs, researching questions. The little to-dos won’t be nagging you anymore and your day will be more productive. Win-Win!

Is Personal Branding Worth It?

Is Personal Branding Worth It?

Is Building a personal brand worth it?

Consumers’ buying habits have changed, and the truth is that they’re choosing to buy from personal brands now more than ever before. One study revealed that compared to 20 years ago, nearly half of consumers said they trust big brands less.

Your customers want to buy from an authentic person they can relate to, instead of an unapproachable, unrelatable business person or logo. The internet is responsible for this market shift, as social media provides consumers with a more intimate look behind the scenes of a company. This has lead to customers placing preference in personal brands, and this is why you’ve probably heard personal brands like Gary Vaynerchuk preach the importance of building yours.

However, it’s no secret that building a wildly successful personal brand like billionaire Kylie Jenner, Richard Branson, or Oprah requires a significant amount of hard work, time and energy. You need to factor in the amount of content you’ll need to produce and publish on a regular basis, the commitment to showing up online and nurturing an audience, and the dedication to sharing parts of your life you may have never planned to.

Building a personal brand isn’t an easy nor quick feat – and some even argue that having a personal brand can actually do you and your business more harm than good – if not strategically handled.

I’ve reached out to some of my favorite personal branding colleagues to get their take on some of the pros and cons of building a personal brand, so you can decide whether or not it’s worth it for you.

Pro: Your Business Will Gain A Competitive Edge

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are approximately 23 million small businesses in the United States alone. If you don’t have a strategy for standing out from your competition, you could find yourself struggling for years to come.

The good news is if you are the face of your business, building your personal brand will give you the competitive edge you need to stand out.

By strategically building your personal brand as the owner of your company, you will build a unique type of trust with your target market. You will be able to connect with them on a personal, intimate level and show your market who the person behind the logo is. This is what consumers look for when making buying decisions.

If you are the face of your business, building your personal brand now is critical to gaining authority within your market and earning consumers’ trust.

Con: It Can Limit Your Ability To Live In The Moment

Though having millions of online followers and engaged customers at your fingertips sounds like a dream to most businesses, building a personal brand is no small feat. It requires a significant amount of time – and not to mention – content. It requires you to essentially document your life day by day, updating an audience with new content on the regular.
At times, it can feel like personal branding takes away from special moments, and makes it difficult to live in the moment. You’ll feel the urge to update your following and tell your audience how much fun you’re having leading a workshop, rather than actually having fun leading a workshop.

If you commit to building your personal brand, just be aware that it takes a lot of effort, and one of the greatest struggles you may face might be
living in the moment.

Pro: You Become More Visible Online

With almost 4.4 billion active internet users, it’s no secret becoming more visible online equals an endless plethora of opportunities for new customers, partnerships, and business growth. Personal branding can drastically increase your (and your business’s) visibility online. The reason personal brands garner such massive audiences, is because they tell a never-ending story. Just look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s whopping 167 million Instagram following. He’s branched out with his own personal brand – ending up with more followers that Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande.

Humans have been drawn to stories since the beginning of time, and personal branding is just that: a story. Personal branding means documenting your life day by day and sharing the highs and lows of your story. Transparency and authenticity is what attracts an audience online and makes you “followable” in this digital age.

I recently chatted with Lauren Gordon, storytelling expert and co-founder of Webmetrix Design, and she expanded on the topic of storytelling with, “I’ve trained thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners on how to grow their personal brand, and the first exercise I always have them do is figure out their brand story. The problem is, most people think their story isn’t interesting enough to follow – which couldn’t be further from the truth. YOU have a story that your market WILL follow and buy into if you tell it right. In just over a year of sharing my story on social media, I attracted a following of over 5,000 people, most of which became paying customers in my business. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your story and the people who are waiting to hear it right now.”

Sage advice.

Con: Prepare For Criticism (and learn how to handle it)

Though having a large audience around your brand online surely has its perks (hello organic reach, free marketing, and massive authority), it also has its downsides.

If you commit to building your personal brand, be prepared for the criticism you’re bound to face. By building your personal brand, you are actually building an image of yourself – a public image. Some people won’t agree with your content, your message, and your story. Though you may not face any internet “trolls” until your audience is of considerable size, be prepared for when the day comes. Have thick skin, and remember that not everyone will agree with your mission.

In a phone conversation, Melissa Henry, visual branding expert, expanded on the topic of criticism by saying, “Part of growing your brand will include expressing thoughts and ideas that may be controversial or at the very least, strike a chord with some people who fiercely disagree with you. The fact is that when you step into the public eye and express your true thoughts and beliefs, you put yourself at risk for criticism. If you truly want to live your brand as authentically as possible, you cannot silence the ideas that will ultimately help the people you want to serve. Make it a point to proactively increase your capacity for hearing criticism.”

There is not one person on the planet that everyone likes. Not one. Accept the fact that not everyone will like you or agree with you – keep spreading your message.

Pro: You Can Build & Leverage Relationships With Other Well-Known Brands

Leveraging established brands for partnerships is one of the fastest ways to grow your business to new heights. Unfortunately, in the modern age we live in, you won’t have much luck building strategic relationships with other influencers or brands in your industry unless you have a strong personal brand yourself. Smart companies won’t partner with brands unless they look credible and reputable, which is where having a personal brand comes in handy.

If you plan to form brand partnerships to boost your business’s sales and visibility, spend some time building your own personal brand first. By doing so, you’ll have a much easier time getting your foot in the door and approaching large established brands with ideas and proposals.

Bonus Pro: Your Career Will Become Stronger

Smart business owners know we live in a world where sales and marketing are better executed by employees with strong personal brands than by the brands themselves. This means companies are hiring employees not based on resumes and cover letters, but on information they find online, such as their social media presence, personal website, blog, major media, and more.

This means the benefits of having a personal brand extend far beyond entrepreneurs and business owners.

If you are an employee, building your personal brand can be one of the smartest choices you make this year. Companies will see even more value in hiring you, and if you already work for a company you love, building your personal brand can put you in a strong position for growth and promotion within the company.

In an email conversation, Bettina Buhr, bilingual personal branding consultant for employees, said, “Personal branding in the corporate world is not about wanting to be the shiny star standing out from the team. It’s about looking at yourself as a brand. You start with taking a close look at your passions, strengths, and past results. Based on that, you look into current trends in your industry and gaps within the company you work for (or want to work for). When you match the insights of those two steps you will clearly see how you can create business-relevant value to a company as well as the customer in the future. This clarity about yourself will help you communicate your unique value in a way that you are seen for the positions you are passionate about doing and where you create real value add.”

Takeaway: Smart companies, employees, and business owners have taken note of the market shift and are choosing to build their personal brands despite the downsides and challenges associated. Take note of the honest pros and cons of personal branding listed above, and decide whether or not it’s worth it for you.

If you choose to build your personal brand, remember that it’s all about communicating your story in an authentic, valuable way so you can build trust with your target market and gain credibility within your industry.

The Difference That Makes A Difference

The Difference That Makes A Difference

The Difference That Makes A Difference

Gregory Bateson, an English anthropologist is credited with this phrase. He was talking about information and how it can affect things. What information can we know that will completely change the situation/experiment/culture?

The subtle difference that makes a huge difference?

• Difference between orange juice and a mimosa? Champagne.

• Difference between kissing a person you love vs. kissing a person you love who is married to someone else? Integrity.

• Difference between playing basketball in tennis shoes or playing in flip flops? Enjoying yourself. 

This goes for your business too. There are a ton of little differences that you can add that will make a big difference to either your internal culture or your customer’s experience. 

• Difference between emailing an angry customer back or calling them personally? Diffusion of the issue and potentially game-changing feedback.

• Difference between listening to your employees feedback or telling them “This is how it’s always been done.”? Your employees feeling valued and better ideas coming through the door. 

• Difference between packaging your product in a brown cardboard box or finding something beautiful to package it in? The customer has a totally different experience with your product.

Find the difference that makes the difference in your business.